Ellen MacArthur begun her maiden solo voyage from the Falklands on Friday on board the 75ft B&Q trimaran

Ellen MacArthur begun her maiden solo voyage from the Falklands on Friday on board the 75ft B&Q trimaran. This is MacArthur’s first solo voyage for over 15 months, since the solo transatlantic Route du Rhum race in November 2002. Her departure from Port Stanley was delayed by a few hours as strong winds of up to 45kts were forecast. However, MacArthur left the islands quickly behind in a good 18kts north-west wind. It will be another testing time for both skipper and boat, as they face upwind conditions of the South Atlantic. Ellen is already experiencing the harsh realities of solo sailing with the breeze varying between 15 and 30 knots.

She said: “Out at last, and great to be out on the water solo again, though at the same time very sad to leave the guys and everyone else behind. It all happened very quickly – before I knew it we were in Port Stanley and it was time for everyone to leave. I can’t believe that this is really the first time that I’ve sailed solo on board B&Q, nor that it’s the first time that I’ve been without the guys either on land or sea. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead and can’t wait to see how she performs…so far, so good! But she can be hard work in these conditions – six sail changes today as the wind increased. The realities of singlehanded sailing can be pretty harsh sometimes and it’s exhausting but awesome to be out here. Conditions are already getting warmer – the air temperature has gone up a few degrees.

“Our stay here in the Falklands has been just fantastic. We were totally welcomed and made to feel very much at home. Although we were busy checking and preparing the boat before I left, we had some time to see the Islands themselves. The sights were beautiful and remind me a lot of the north-west of Scotland. The nature and the landscape were breathtaking. There were a few small things to fix on board before we left but all the testing went well so I was pretty confident leaving.”